A move up the road – same friends but different challenges

Dairy life
with Donna McKinley

 June 1 – or as us farmers call it ‘Gypsy Day’ – is just around the corner! The day where I put my Tetris packing skills to the test and furiously run around doing the last minute cleaning. Only to have to unpack it all, work out what fits where and of course start my new job.

I feel I’m well prepared and making good progress with ensuring the house and section will be in the best of the best conditions for the next team member to fill my shoes. Unlike many, and thankfully so, I don’t have to move any stock so I’m not having to battle with finding an available cattle truck.

Fortunately, I only have a small move on my hands. I’m heading to Mangakino which is about a 15-minute drive for me. As we all know, many hands make light work, so I have recruited a team of Young Farmers to help out as well. We all work together helping each other move houses. A few of our club members are moving prior to June 1, which means we can all spread the load. I’m grateful to have been offered the opportunity I have because it means I get to remain in the community with my well-established network of friends and can stay with the same Young Farmers Club. In fact I will actually be right across the road from a very good friend of mine.

Since winning the Dairy Industry Awards’ Central Plateau region Dairy Trainee of the Year award I’ve been invited to join an array of new networks. Federated Farmers, Dairy NZ’s Tiller Talk and the NZDIA Committee itself. This brings a new challenge for me as I work out how much more I can take on alongside a first-year farm management role while still maintaining some sanity and downtime. I think my biggest challenge next season will be managing everything effectively and recognising when it’s getting to be too much. I’m planning to start working towards the Diploma in Agribusiness next season as well, which I hear is quite time-intensive.

I expect to learn a lot next season as Mangakino isn’t well known for growing record amounts of grass – especially when there is no water irrigation. But I’m also excited for the business opportunities that lay ahead. There has been talk about leasing grazing off the farm owner, which means I will look at buying young stock and raising them to build on my equity. All in all can it’s going to be an exciting season!


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